- Yellow hexagons
- Red trapezoids
- Blue thick rhombi
- Tan thin rhombi
- Green triangles
- Orange squares
There are loads of fun learning activities that can be done with pattern blocks, including exploration of symmetry, fractions, tessellations, angles, and more. Pattern blocks can also be used outside of math for creativity, art, writing, and such.
As useful as pattern blocks are, the physical versions have a few drawbacks:
- They cost money to buy.
- You will always have a limited amount.
- They can get lost.
One alternative is to use digital pattern blocks. Although there is nothing quite like handling the plastic blocks in real life, students can still do loads of activities with the virtual version.
To help with this, I have created a free Google Drawings template with virtual pattern blocks. In addition to the blank template, I have also made several sample activities to show some ideas for how these could be used. See below to get more details and to get your own copies of all these resources.
The Basic Pattern Block Template
The basic Pattern Block template is a Google Drawing with a blank canvas and one of each of the Pattern Blocks off to the left side of the canvas. Each of the six Pattern Block shapes and colors are accurately recreated in the template. The Pattern Blocks can be copied, pasted, moved, rotated, and flipped however you want for your learning activities.
To get your own copy of the basic Pattern Block template, click the link below.
- Basic Pattern Block Template - Google Drawing link
Moving, Rotating, and Flipping Pattern Blocks
As mentioned above you can copy and paste the Pattern Block shapes for your activity. Google Drawings also provides many options for you to move, rotate, and flip the Pattern Blocks as needed. You can use your mouse, or your keyboard, or even a combination of both to manipulate the shapes as needed. See below for a full list of the options.
To move a piece:
Click and drag shape with mouse
Nudge one pixel
Shift + Arrow keys
To rotate a piece:
Click and drag blue rotation circle
Rotate 90 degrees clockwise
Click "Arrange", then "Rotate", then "Rotate clockwise 90 degrees"
Rotate 90 degrees counter-clockwise
Click "Arrange", then "Rotate", then "Rotate counter-clockwise 90 degrees"
Rotate 15 degrees clockwise
Alt + Left arrow
Rotate 15 degrees counter-clockwise
Alt + Right arrow
Free Rotate by 15 degrees
Shift + Click and drag blue rotation circle
Rotate 1 degree clockwise
Alt + Shift + Right arrow
Rotate 1 degree counter-clockwise
Alt + Shift + Left arrow
To flip a piece:
Click "Arrange", then "Rotate", then "Flip horizontally"
Click "Arrange", then "Rotate", then "Flip vertically"
Example Activities Templates
You can use the basic Pattern Block template to create all sorts of learning activities. As an example, I have created several activities shown below. For each activity I have also included a template that you are free to copy and use if you want.
Horizontal Line of Symmetry - free Google Drawing template
Vertical Line of Symmetry - free Google Drawing template
Ways to Make a Whole - free Google Drawing template
Perimeter of a Garden - free Google Drawing template
Biggest and Smallest Perimeter - free Google Drawing template
Tessellations - free Google Drawing template
Create and Write about a Picture - free Google Drawing template
Pattern Blocks are a tool that can be used for many creative and learning activities. With a quick Google search you can find loads of activities using physical pattern blocks that you can easily adapt to this virtual Google Drawings template. Or you can create your own projects. If you do, please feel free to share how you used this template to engage your students in learning.
Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at twitter.com/ericcurts and on Google+ at plus.google.com/+EricCurts1